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Easy Grilled Cauliflower (15-Minute Florets)

Transform your cauliflower into something special with a wonderful blend of spices and a bit of char. Grilled Cauliflower is an easy healthy side dish for any meal, ready in 15 minutes.

The trick to this recipe is using a grill basket – my favorite BBQ tool.

grilled cauliflower garnished with green onions on plate with lemon wedges.

Using a grill basket is much easier than grilling cauliflower in the form of cauliflower steaks or wedges. There’s no fussing and no chance of the loose florets falling through the grills. It keeps everything together beautifully – almost like sautéing in a fry pan, but you get a bonus with the char from the BBQ.

The blend of seasonings works well, but honestly, play around with various combinations you like to get the best balance. The variations are endless. You can even go plain and simple with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.

What to expect

This grilled cauliflower recipe is an easy, quick and delicious side dish – and super versatile with respect to seasoning flavors. Using a grill basket is the easiest option, but there are others.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

head of cauliflower, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, green onion, olive oil.

Cauliflower: Use a regular medium or large head of cauliflower, a baby cauliflower, also called fioretto, (or prepackaged cauliflower florets for a shortcut).

Spices: We use a spice blend of cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and garlic powder.

  • Variations: You can try other blends such as curry, taco seasoning, Cajun, Italian seasoning, Herbes de Provence; lemon pepper or fajita seasonings.

Garnish: I like to garnish the cauliflower with chopped green onions, fresh parsley and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or lime juice.

  • Great options: Try some lemon zest or fresh herbs like thyme, chives, fresh cilantro, or oregano. You can also give it a kick of heat with some red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Step by Step instructions

seasonings and oil in a stainless steel bowl.
Mix together seasonings and oil in a large bowl. Add raw cauliflower florets and toss to coat evenly.
seasoned cauliflower in grill basket.
Place in a grill basket, sprayed with oil.
grilled cauliflower in grill basket.
Place on the hot grill for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender and you see caramelized edges, stirring occasionally.
grilled cauliflower garnished with green onions on plate with lemon wedges.
grilled cauliflower in white bowl with lemon wedges.

Shortcuts

  • Instead of a whole cauliflower, buy pre-cut cauliflower florets.
  • Buy a ready-made spice blend you like. You will need about 1 tablespoon or a little bit more.

Tips on how to cut a head of cauliflower into florets

  1. Prep the cauliflower: Remove any outer leaves from the whole head of cauliflower and rinse it under cool water to clean off any dirt or debris. Pat it dry with a clean kitchen towel or some paper towels.
  2. Trim stem: Flip the cauliflower over on a cutting board so the stem side is facing up. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut around the stem. Remove the stem by pulling it out or cutting it off completely.
  3. Divide into florets: Break or cut the cauliflower head into large florets. Start by cutting through the stem area and continue breaking the cauliflower into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Try to keep them relatively uniform in size to ensure even cooking.

Make ahead

Feel free to make the grilled cauliflower florets a few hours ahead and warm it in the microwave for a minute. Or serve it at room temperature. It holds up well, making it a good potluck dish.

Grill basket FAQs

What should I look for when buying a grill basket?

Choose a sturdy heavier grill basket that will stand up to high heat and not buckle. I prefer a nonstick finish for easier cleanup, but many stainless steel grill baskets will go in the dishwasher.

What can I use if I don’t have a grill basket?

Here are 3 alternatives if you don’t have a grill basket. #1: Poke holes in the bottom of a tin foil tray (purchased or shaped from tin foil). Make sure you spray it with oil. #2: Use a simple cooling rack placed upside down on the grill. Great grill basket hack! #3: Slice cauliflower into thick steaks or wedges and grill them directly on the grill.

What to serve with BBQ cauliflower

Main dish: Almost any protein will work with this cauliflower. I love serving it with Grilled BBQ Chicken Thighs, Maple Balsamic Rainbow Trout, Marinated Flank Steak, or Baked Apricot Chicken.

Toppings: For an extra touch, drizzle cauliflower with basil pesto, red pepper sauce, ranch dressing, tzatziki or 5-minute herb sauce/

Love using a grill basket?

Here are a few other recipes that take advantage of a grill basket.

grilled cauliflower garnished with green onions on plate with lemon wedges.

More cauliflower recipes

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grilled cauliflower garnished with green onions on plate with lemon wedges.
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4.78 from 18 votes

Easy Grilled Cauliflower (15-Minute Florets)

Transform your cauliflower into something special with a wonderful blend of spices and a bit of char. Grilled Cauliflower is an easy healthy side dish for any meal, ready in 15 minutes. The trick to this recipe is using a grill basket – my favorite BBQ tool.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Grill basket (note 1)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium or large cauliflower add extra seasoning if using a large caulilfower
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil

Seasonings, Note 2

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon each, salt and black pepper (or more to taste)

Garnish

  • squeeze of lemon, 1-2 chopped green onions

Instructions

  • HEAT GRILL to medium high heat. Spray a grill basket with oil, Note 1.
  • PREPARE CAULIFLOWER: Remove outer leaves of cauliflower, cut out core, then cut cauliflower into florets. The smaller the pieces, the faster they will cook. In a large mixing bowl, mix together olive oil, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Add florets and toss to coat evenly. If the cauliflower seems a little dry, add a touch more oil. Place seasoned cauliflower in grill basket.
  • GRILL CAULIFLOWER: Grill for 10-15 minutes in total, depending on how soft you like your cauliflower and how large the florets are. Stir occasionally.
  • SERVE: Transfer to serving dish. Squeeze lemon juice (about 1/4 lemon) over cauliflower and sprinkle over chopped green onions and parsley if desired. Or drizzle with a sauce, Note 3.
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Recipe Notes

  1. Grill basket alternative: A grill basket makes this recipe a snap as it has sides making it easy to stir. If you don’t have one, you can use a wire cooling rack or slice the cauliflower into larger wedges to cook directly on the grill. 
  2. Variations for seasonings: If you don’t like one if the spices, leave it out and replace it with something you like. You can also try other blends such as curry, taco seasoning, cajun, Italian seasoning, herbes de provence, or fajita seasonings.
  3. Optional toppings: Step it up with a drizzle of basil pesto, red pepper sauce, ranch dressing, tzatziki or 5-minute herb sauce. You can also garnish with fresh herbs.
  4. Make Ahead: Make the full dish a few hours ahead and warm in microwave for a minute or serve at room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. 
Nutritional values are estimates. 

Nutrition

Serving: 0g | Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 190mg | Potassium: 450mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 128IU | Vitamin C: 69mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg
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2 Comments

  1. this is good, can be the basis of many other dishes – added some olives and cukes and tomatoes for quick yum lunch.